Uncategorized

Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

1280px-Hellbender
nearthreatened
Common Name: Hellbender, Snot Otter
Scientific Name: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
Family: Cryptobranchidae
Location: United States – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia
Size: 2.5 feet or 74 inches

The Hellbender is the largest Salamander in North America. There are two subspecies of Hellbenders: Ozark Hellbender (C. a. bishopi) and Eastern Hellbender (C. a. alleganiensis) . Differences between the subspecies are distribution and that the Ozark Hellbender has large spots and a molted chin, while the Eastern has small spots and uniformed color chin.

Hellbenders are mostly aquatic, relying on dissolved oxygen in the water to breath and because of this, they live in fast moving streams. They also like streams with large rocks so they can hide under them. They hide under these rocks during the day and go out at night to eat what they can find, mostly crawfish and fish.

For breeding, Hellbenders use external fertilization which is rare for salamanders. The males creates a spot for the female to lay the eggs and after fertilization, the male defends the eggs. The breeding season is starts in September and October.

Hellbenders are listed as near threatened by the IUCN but many states have them listed as endangered. The Ozark Hellbender is listed as a federally endangered species. Hellbender populations have dropped because of over-harvesting, chytrid fungus, and habitat destruction in the form of damming rivers and pollution from mining.

Advertisements

1 thought on “Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s